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Climber Jonathan Siegrist Wrangles ‘Flex Luthor,’ 5.15a — Frontier Style

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I’m going to go out on a limb here: There is no American fantasy more trenchant than the myth of the frontier. In Siegrist’s ‘Where Climbing Is Still Wild,’ it’s alive and well.

Cowboy culture will always be alive in this country, and as you get better acquainted with it, spotting it in pop culture turns into shooting fish in a barrel.

In my career as a rock climber, I’ve found myself and my cohort uniquely prone to this fantasy. The narratives of deadly drama and high adventure in perilous locales pervade our shared stories.

Most of us just play at it. But no rule can exist without exceptions. If a genre of sport climbing exists on the frontier (and believe it or not, I’m serious about this next point), it plays out on the remote crags of the American West.

Keen-eyed virtuosos like Jonathan Siegrist and Matt Segal set out on long hauls to lonely bluffs. Here, snakes, raptors, and their prey can be the only company for a solitary climber and his faithful partner.

Next, enter the showdown: our grizzled hero against his nemesis, the dangerous and unknown entity known as Flex Luthor (5.15a).

OK, maybe it’s still just rock climbing. Anyway, kick off your boots and enjoy this one, pardner. And the next time you see Siegrist on the dusty trail, buy that rustler a cold sarsparilla. Heaven knows this engagement earned him one.

Runtime: 13 minutes

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